SIMONINI, Francesco
(b. 1686, Parma, d. ca. 1755, Venezia, or Firenze)


Italian painter. His date of birth is recorded in the register of the baptistery at Parma (no. 246), so correcting that (1689) given in all the earliest sources. He trained under Francesco Monti (1646-1712) and Pier Ilario Spolverini (1657-1734) in his home town and became a successful painter of battle scenes. It is probable that the young painter soon moved to Florence, where he studied the paintings of Jacques Courtois and copied 24 of his battle scenes. Later it is said that Simonini visited Rome. He certainly worked in Bologna, where he was documented as the 'painter of the most eminent Cardinal Ruffo, Papal ambassador in Bologna', a post the Cardinal held from August 1721 to August 1727.

After a short stay in Florence, he settled in Venice, where he had the best of the English aristocracy among his clients. He was also the celebrated Marshal Schulenberg's official painter, and followed him on his military campaigns. Simonini participated in a number of Von der Schulenberg's military campaigns, thus explaining the large number of cavalry scenes that are attributed to him. His distinctive style, with its rapid brushwork and vivid use of colour, was formed under the influence of his Venetian contemporaries and, in particular, of the view-painter Marco Ricci.

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